Low Expectations Cause Bank to Discount Filing Fee

By Izhak Dannon

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The Israeli Discount Bank filed a claim in Tel Aviv district court for just over a million dollars, i.e., four million NIS (in order to keep the court’s fee law since, in Israel, the amount of compensation sought determines the size of the filing fee) against two defendants, a Florida  corporate entity, Crystal Lake Executive Park, with a branch in Israel, and Joe and Rivka Reality, Inc., a New York corporation, which, to the best of the bank’s knowledge, it, too, has a branch in Israel. The Bank, on information and belief, alleges that the defendants are affiliated companies under the control of individuals who are members of a family by the name of Michaeli.  The bank’s suit claims that the named defendants maintain current accounts related to the development project known as the “Courts of Jaffa.”

The suit alleges that the bank extended to the defendants credit and various banking services, in the process of providing project support.  There remains a whopping NIS784 million (about $202 million) still unpaid and owed by the defendants to the bank.  The bank already written off, “due to its internal procedures, ” a substantial portion of the debt but even after such generous debt forgiveness, a balance of NIS54 million ($14.5 million) remains owed, as per the banks  internal procedures at least.

After realization of what collateral was provided by the defendants and in order to pay a fee that would be commensurate with the plaintiff’s realistic expectations of what it might be able to collect, the claim was set at only NIS4 million, a mere 0.5% of the amount the bank parted with – NIS748 million – as it so generously supported the now defunct project.

The court readily granted bank’s ex parte application for a preliminary order of attachment affecting any legal rights and /or funds the defendants might have, up to the amount claimed.

In the application for the attachment the bank stated that corporate defendants are faced with financial difficulties due to heavy losses suffered by the Jaffa Courts real estate project and that they no longer have any bona fide business activity in Israel, which might explain the modest fee the bank grudgingly parted with at the time of filing.

Heads will roll.

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